Fairfield, CA – California Highway Patrol Motorcycle Officer Kirk Griess was killed in the line of duty on Friday morning, after he was hit by a pickup truck while conducting a traffic stop.
The fatal collision occurred just before 9 a.m., after Officer Griess, 46, pulled over the driver of a gray Saturn SUV on Interstate 80 westbound near Manuel Campos Parkway, the San Francisco Gate reported.
The officer and the SUV driver, later identified as 49-year-old Jaime Bueza Manuel, were on the right shoulder of the roadway.
A white three-quarter-ton pickup truck inexplicably veered onto the shoulder, slamming into both men, the California Association of Highway Patrolmen said in a press release.
“The impact was very significant,” California Highway Patrol Chief Ernie Sanchez said, according to the San Francisco Gate. “The Saturn was almost half the size of what it should be, and the scene was not very pretty.”
Officer Griess, Manuel, and the unidentified pickup driver were all rushed to a local hospital, where Officer Griess and Manuel were pronounced dead.
The driver of the pickup was being treated at the hospital, and was cooperating with investigators, the California Highway Patrol said.
No charges have been filed.
According to KTXL, the driver has told police that he blacked out while driving due to some type of medical issue.
Officer Griess, a United States Marine Corps veteran, had been with the highway patrol for 19 years. He was based out of the Solano office at the time of his death, the San Francisco Gate reported.
His agency described him as “charismatic,” and said he was “the type of man known to help anyone at any time,” according to the Times-Herald News.
“Officer Griess is going to be dearly missed,” California Highway Patrol Commissioner Warren Stanley said. “He was the ultimate public servant. He loved what he did.”
On Friday afternoon, California Governor Jerry Brown ordered flags at the State Capitol to be flown at half-staff in Officer Griess’ honor, the San Francisco Gate reported.
Officer Griess leaves behind his wife, Keri, two adult daughters, Kaci and Kadi, and a 14-year-old son, Kole.
On Saturday morning, numerous law enforcement agencies gathered to escort the fallen hero’s body from the Solano County Coroner’s Office to the Vacaville-Elmira Cemetery.
“We hope you all take an extra moment today to pause and remember that life is precious and to keep the Griess family in your thoughts and prayers,” the Vacaville Police Department wrote in a Facebook post, along with a video of the procession. “For all those who stopped today to pay their respects as Officer Griess and his family passed through town, we thank you so very much.”
A bell toll tribute ceremony in memory of Officer Griess’ sacrifice took place on Monday morning at the California Highway Patrol Academy in West Sacramento, the Times-Herald News reported.
A memorial fund has also been established to assist Officer Griess’ family in the wake of their loss.
“One hundred percent of all donations received will go directly to his family,” the California Association of Highway Patrolmen said in a press release.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of California Highway Patrol Motorcycle Officer Kirk Griess, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.